ECU baseball update: #22 East Carolina to entertain in-state foe High Point
CUSA Fans Director of Content and East Carolina sports correspondent Thomas "Bubba" Rosenbaum provides us with his latest update on the ECU Pirates baseball team.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Clark-LeClair Stadium (3,000), Greenville, NC @ 7:00 pm
All-Time Series: East Carolina leads 3-1
No coach ever wants to lose a game. If they say otherwise, they're either lying or they are in the wrong business. However, there are undoubtedly going to be those games where a team is on the short end and it must decide how it is going to respond. A team’s response to adversity will determine whether it is a championship team or not.
On Wednesday, it will be exactly one month since East Carolina suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to struggling in-state foe Campbell. If the Pirates’ response to that loss is any indication, Billy Godwin’s club could be in the midst of a season to remember.
Since being shutout by the Camels, the Pirates (15-6) have won 13 of their last 14 games—including nine straight—while climbing to as high as 22 nd in the most recent national polls.
ECU welcomes Big South foe High Point to Clark-LeClair Stadium on Wednesday for its first mid-week night game of the season.
Seventh year head man Sal Bando, Jr, coaches the Panthers. They return seven position starters and ten pitchers from last year’s 27-32 (14-10) squad, which placed fourth in the conference. The last meeting between the two programs was back during the 2005 season. The Pirates won that meeting 14-5 in Greenville.
HPU (11-12) has won three of its last four and took 2-of-3 from Lafayette College over the weekend in High Point. The Panthers are hitting a solid .307 as a team and have stolen 31 bases in 40 attempts. The team ERA rests at 4.64, but the Panthers’ woes have been derived from their poor fielding more than their pitching. Their fielding percentage is currently .953, as they commit two errors per game.
Randy Schwartz and Billy Alvino are the team’s top two hitters. Schwartz leads the team in batting average (.386) and home runs (3) while ranking second in RBIs (20). Alvino is hitting .366 and has driven in a team-high 22 runs.
ECU will have to keep an eye on HPU’s Robby Kuzdale, as the Panthers’ freshman outfielder has already swiped ten bases.
The Panthers pitching staff includes East Carolina transfer Chad Jennings. The former Pirate boasts a 1.42 era, as he has allowed only 2 earned runs in 12.2 innings of work. ECU may face senior righthander Brandon Moore (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 13 IP, Opp. BA .244), but it just depends on what approach head coach Sal Mundo opts to take considering his team plays its conference-opening series versus Liberty this weekend.
East Carolina is hitting a mediocre .282 with 17 home runs, but tremendous pitching and defense have largely carried Billy Godwin’s ballclub. The Pirates possess an eye-opening 3.17 team ERA and opponents are hitting only .238.
The speedy Stephen Batts leads the team, as the Wilmington-native is hitting at a .375 clip with a team-high three triples. Ryan Tousley, who usually bats in the clean-up spot, leads the team with 21 RBIs. The second-year Pirate is batting .304 and is second on the team with four home runs. Tousley trails only Brandon Henderson, who has produced five long balls on the season.
Sophomore righty Bailey Daniels (1-1) will start his second consecutive mid-week game for ECU. In last Tuesday’s start versus Radford, the Wanchese, NC-native allowed three runs (all earned) on four hits in 5.2 innings of work. He struck out nine while walking only two.
Prediction: A solid High Point offense may plate a few runs in this one against ECU’s mid-week pitching, but the Pirates will have enough offense to win for the 14 th time in their last 15 games.
East Carolina 11 - High Point 5